It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. You feel your energy start to go and that mental fog setting in. If you’re hungry, you grab a snack – hopefully a healthy one. But if that’s not enough, is your next move to load up on caffeine? Take a power nap? Try to push through with your energy and motivation running on fumes? Or do you just give up and pack it in early, leaving tasks undone and adding to tomorrow’s workload?
Don’t do those things! There’s a simple tip you can follow to recharge your batteries and get you going again: Have an activity snack!
Just like an edible snack, an activity snack is a mini-version of the real thing, in this case, physical activity. The great thing about an activity snack is you don’t need much time at all – 30 seconds could be enough, you don’t need any special clothing or equipment, and you don’t even need to worry about getting sweaty since you won’t be doing anything very strenuous for very long.
The type of activity you do during your snacks is really only limited by your imagination. If you’re in your office and only have a few seconds, doing a few chair squats will work: stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down, done! Or you could do a 30-second plank. You could walk briskly down the hall and back a few times, or better yet, get outside and walk around the block once. If you’re feeling tired and stressed, try this: stand facing a window (hopefully one with the sun shining into it) and close your eyes. Raise your arms overhead in Mountain Pose and take five breaths, making each breath a little slower and deeper than the last. Now tap the crown of your head lightly with your index fingers, alternating hands for a total of 20 taps. Open your eyes. Lift one foot and balance on the other for 15 seconds, switch sides and repeat. How do you feel?
Any of those options are good, but my favorite activity snacks, by far, are active games. A couple of months ago, I went online and ordered a child’s paddle ball, a set of jacks (you remember those, right?), and this weird uneven ball that goes in crazy directions when you bounce it off the floor. I already happened to have a package of three tennis balls in the closet, so I also started trying to learn how to juggle. I was terrible at first! In fact, I plan to write another post soon about my juggling experience and I will show you the videos of me trying to juggle a couple of months ago, and now, and you’ll be amazed at my progress. Most importantly, learning to juggle was fun! I felt like a kid again, challenging myself to do something new. As I got a little better day by day, it became exhilarating. Not only that, but it’s actually a pretty good workout, especially at first, when you’re dropping and chasing balls all the time.
If you can find an activity that’s fun and mentally stimulating as well as physically challenging, doing it for even just 60 seconds will give your brain a dose of chemicals that far exceeds anything caffeine or sugar can do for you. You’ll feel immediately refreshed and ready to get back to work.
If you think of any other activity snacks I haven’t mentioned here, give them a try and share with the rest of us, either in the comments below, or on my Facebook page. Have fun!